November 21, 2011
Lots to do this week. At the office, you’ve got to pull a rabbit out of the hat: it’s the holiday magic, to get a week’s worth of work done in three days, so you can leave Wednesday for the “long weekend.” At home, you’ve got to make room for Big Bird (the turkey) and the Out-of-Towners (the other turkeys) who will all find places around the table on Thursday.
And… if you have a minute to spare, you can take a shot at becoming famous – at least, in the Andy Warhol sense. In 1968, he declared that, “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Good Morning America is offering to give you the first 15 seconds of that timeblock, on Thanksgiving morning: respond to their on-line query – “What Are You Thankful For? Tell GMA in Three Words” – and, if they like your answer, they’ll include you in their holiday hash.
The good folks at ABC – and, most Americans around festive feasts on Thursday – don’t get it. They’re using Modern Math, and the formula fails because it’s missing a critical factor. Read on…
Archers are not notable because they fire arrows; their prowess is measured by how often they hit the target. Quarterbacks don’t win the game based on passes thrown; they succeed because of the ones that are caught. I cannot claim to be a “loving person” if there is no one to whom my love is bestowed. Gratitude is empty if it only recognizes the gift, but never mentions the giver.
From Paul, to the Romans: “ For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:21-22) How do you track the decline in human wisdom? One key marker: the creation – that would be people – migrate from knowledge of God and gratitude toward him toward the foolishness of denying his existence and involvement in our life experience…
The American tradition says that Thanksgiving is an “official” day for gratitude within our culture. The Christian tradition says that life should be marked by daily recognition of the provision of God in the abundance we enjoy: “ Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20) Who is the target for the thanks we project?
Thanksgiving is great; don’t get me wrong! But, the unsophisticated practitioners who will crowd the tables on Thursday will be proving their ineptitude in the practice of gratitude! As you exercise your influence in the festivities, make sure you show them how it’s done! What’s the secret?
In a nutshell, the formula: to + for = thanksgiving
Good Morning America is focused on the “for;” real thanksgiving requires a “to” – the source of the “for” – to express gratitude. A thank-you note for a gift has to be addressed to the giver, or it lands in the dead-letter box, alongside the Santa Claus correspondence. To whom are you grateful, and… for what?
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God,” (Romans 14:5-6). Whatever your main course, do it right!
On Thursday – and, everyday – recount your blessings, sure… but don’t forget the Giver while you celebrate the gifts!
By the way, I’m grateful to God for your part in my life. You – reading my Point of View – are a gift, from Him, to me… Happy Thanksgiving!